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Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen

Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen

3.1 16
by Joanna Denny

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This powerful new biography presents a portrait of Anne Boleyn different from the unsavory and unflattering accounts of her that have come down through history. Instead, we learn about the real Anne-a woman who was highly literate, accomplished, an intellectual, and a devout defender of her Protestant faith. Anne's tragedy began when her looks and vivacious


This powerful new biography presents a portrait of Anne Boleyn different from the unsavory and unflattering accounts of her that have come down through history. Instead, we learn about the real Anne-a woman who was highly literate, accomplished, an intellectual, and a devout defender of her Protestant faith. Anne's tragedy began when her looks and vivacious charm attracted the notice of England's violent and paranoid king whose love for her trapped her in the vicious politics of the Tudor court. This compelling account of Anne Boleyn plunges the reader into the intrigue, romance, and danger of King Henry VIII's court and the turbulent times that would change England forever. It will forever change our perception of this much-maligned queen.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Denny seeks to redeem Anne Boleyn from the slanders of Catholic propagandists hired to paint her as a monster. Anne and her diplomat father, Thomas, were advocates of the "New Religion"-the Protestantism spreading through England in the early 16th century. The Boleyn family's meteoric rise in status and influence threatened Cardinal Wolsey and his Catholic power base even before Henry VIII divorced the Catholic Catherine of Aragon in order to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne, thus initiating England's Protestant Reformation. While effectively setting this scene of high-stakes intrigue, Denny focuses on Anne; in her interpretation, Anne's integrity and moral courage lay at the center of the period's vortex of personal and political strife. Brilliantly evoking Henry's bullish intensity, Denny mines the 17 existing love letters that reveal the king's impatient infatuation with Anne. By contrast, she portrays Anne as reticent, acquiescing to the king out of commitment to the Protestant Reformation rather than personal desire. Denny lucidly catalogues the technicalities of Henry's seven-year legal struggle to make Anne his wife and how Anne fell from favor when she failed to produce a male heir. Finally, Denny (the author of a fictional trilogy on the Tudors) records Anne's stoicism as she was charged with incest and adultery, tried and, in 1536, executed. Although she sometimes idealizes her subject, Denny's defense of Anne is coherent and thoroughly readable. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Long seen as depraved, deformed, and debauched, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, has intrigued people ever since her execution. She was accused of both witchcraft and adultery by her critics and praised by her admirers for her beauty, intelligence, and piety. This is a popular attempt to redeem Anne, who Denny (author of a fictionalized trilogy on the Tudors) shows to be a highly intelligent, active woman and an instrumental force in the cause of the Reformation in England. Although some might feel that Denny is unfair to Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, as well as her daughter, Mary, she is simply repeating prevalent opinions among scholars. Denny's writing is clear and to the point, though she does have a visible bias against Anne's detractors. This is a definite purchase for public libraries and any medieval and/or Renaissance collections.-Robert Harbison, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Da Capo Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 10.00(d)

Meet the Author

Joanna Denny wrote several novels and this one work of nonfiction before she died in 2006. Her ancestor, Sir Anthony Denny, was Henry VIII's closest servant in his last days.

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Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While definitely feeling 'preached to' at times, and also feeling Ms. Denny's strong Protestant pull, there is no denying that this is one of the BEST researched biographies I have read to date on Anne Boleyn. Ms. Denny proves to be thorough, and very well backed with actual documentation. Quite honestly, I had a difficult time putting this book down, reading well into the wee hours of the morning. With all the negative portrayals of Queen Anne, and finally finding proof that Catherine of Aragon was not in fact the 'victim' at all times, nor was Anne the 'villain' most of the time, well, I felt vindicated on her behalf. Learning for the first time that most of the stories that circulated about Queen Anne were chronicled well AFTER her death, and based on hearsay from her enemies put things in perspective for me and countless others, no doubt. Her 'Sixth' finger, which is consistently related to each and every telling of the story of Anne Boleyn, also, nothing more than rumor, concocted several years after her death, by her adversaries. The nonsense that was transported, via the vicious slandering by Chapuys, Charles V's ambassador, when the man had never met Anne Boleyn. All his accounts were due to pieces of information he received second, third and sometimes even more distantly handed, by his paid informants within the court residences. And who could be trusted? And with what sort of accuracy? My thanks to Ms. Denny for shedding much needed light on this subject. I only wish she were still alive to provide us with more devoted research. And as a Catholic, I took no offense at all with her bias. What I DID take were stolen moments of my day to further glimpse into the past through the pages of her book.
historybuffJC1 More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed reading several Tudor biographies and have been struck by the fact that many portray Katherine of Aragon as a near perfect person who never did anything wrong while they portray Anne Boleyn as the most vile, wicked person who ever existed who never did anything good except perhaps birth Elizabeth I. It has seemed very illogical to me that either was that extreme either in perfection or wickedness. Many of the allegations against Anne Boleyn, in fact, do not make sense when considered all together. One of the things that I liked best about this book was the way that Ms. Denny took the time to research and document an overwhelming amount of primary sources. She takes the time to inform the reader which "writers" were friends of Katherine, friends of the Boleyns, from the Spanish or Holy Roman Emperor's Courts, fellow reformers, Catholics, or people who never met her and wrote "testimonials" long after she had been executed. Anyone who has studied this era of European history or the Tudor family should not be surprised to discover that a discussion of the Reformation played a key role in the fall of Anne Boleyn. Having read biographies of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, I was not surprised to find that a book defending Anne Boleyn was somewhat passionate in regard to a subject that played such a key part in both her life and her death.
EugeneTX More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely thrilling, provocative, and enlightening book written in a lawyerly fashion that organizes and presents the information in a very easily read format. Start first with Ms Denny's bibliography. She was not writing lightly. She collected, sequenced, and presented the available information in a way that allows the reader to draw reasonable inferences from the information given, much the same way a jury receives it today. She had apparently tired of the standard old attacking, slandering, and muckraking of Anne that she normally heard. She decided to get at the truth as much as possible. She provides the who, what, when, where, how, and why of any good investigator and then dates and sequences the available evidence which shows what actually happened in lieu of what is reported to have happened , what was written as opposed to what was said, and has exposed, in some cases, what was said to be an outright lie based on the reporter's presence elsewhere. In other words, he (the reporter) could not have witnessed what he claimed to have witnessed. Granted, her's is a circumstantial case but she freely admits that gaps exist in the record and the evidence appears to have been destroyed. I think she has presented a most compelling case for one to read and make their own judgement about what might have taken place. Don't let this writing pass you by. It is well worth your time and effort. Read it with independent histories of Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, France, Scotland, England, and Ireland. Religion has a lot not to be proud of during the period but so does government. Understand it, don't get hysterical about it. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although i do not agree with ms denny's view of cathrine the catholic villan and anne the protestant heroine, it does give different views to consider. It challengs your established views, and that is the purpose of a good biography.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While the author does tend to be a bit biased with religion, the accounts, facts, documented proof is phenomenal. Myself, as a Roman Catholic, could have done without all the religious slander, but there is no denying that this book left a huge impact on me. Ms. Denny's research was gone over with a fine tooth comb and she left no document unchecked. I've just purchased her 'Katherine Howard.' I'm hoping it comes close to her 'Anne' and leaves me feeling as breathless as this piece of work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an AWESOME, WONDERFUL book! Denny shows that Anne Boleyn was a devout evangelical Christian who should be admired by future generations. Read this book about Anne Boleyn and NO OTHER!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is refreshing to read a biography of Anne that steers away from painting her as the enemy. The new research into her family life was interesting. However, I did take issue with the major bias the author has torwards Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary. She was especially hard on Mary. How is a young girl supposed to react when you tell them their parent's marriage supposedly should never have happened and you're being disinherited and can't see your own mother? The pages referring to Catherine and Mary were off-putting, but the overall new view of Anne was interesting to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so far from the truth and contradictory that it may as well be in the 'Fiction' section of any library or bookstore. If you are looking for an accurate account of Anne Boleyn, this book is not for you. Or anybody else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joanna Denny's 'Anne Boleyn. A New Life of England's Tragic Queen,' appealed to my long-standing fascination with Queen Anne. Unfortunately, Denny's virulent bias against Catherine of Aragon, Mary Tudor, and indeed anything to do with the Catholic Church, along with an obvious passion for Protestant theology, rather poisoned what had promised to be both fresh history and a good read. This book is almost as much an evangelical polemic as it is a history of Anne Boleyn and the Reformation in England. One need not be a Catholic, as I am not, to find the preaching intrusive.